IN THE GUTTER by Val Hennessy
Quartet Books, 1978 First edition, 96 pp., 8 3/4" X 10 1/4" Softcover
Very good with mild creasing and edgewear
In the Gutter is a curious and illuminating artifact from the late 70’s in London – a time during which Britain was experiencing sizable rifts between the established mainstream and the developing punk and counter-culture movements.
Val Hennessy, a journalist who was making a TV program about the flourishing phenomenon, decided to write a book on the subject. In the Gutter attempts to explain the emergence of a subculture which the author, an outsider, clearly found both threatening and bewildering. Published as a sociology title, it’s hard to determine how serious that was intended.
As a visual examination of punk fashion and its origins, the selection of images depict proud and riotous London youths juxtaposed with pictures of indigenous people in an attempt to make some sort of correlation. Surprisingly, it is the discordant tone of the book which gives us such a vivid and particular insight into the punk movement as it was seen and misconceived from the outside.